the IRS decides to audit a taxpayer, the first thing that usually happens is an
audit letter is received in the mail. Some taxpayers may feel that an audit is
a personal attack from the IRS, when the reality is their selection could be as
simple as a computer pulling their number. When you get a notice from the IRS,
experts advise taxpayers to take these steps:
- Keep calm and call a tax preparer. Many taxpayers come through audits without owing
anything. So staying calm and keeping a positive outlook will help the
situation. A good tax preparer will walk you through the questions, issues, and
concerns regarding the IRS notice. A tax preparer can also inform you of all
the information to gather that the IRS will need.
- Read the letter thoroughly. The initial shock of getting a letter may prevent you
from reading it clearly. Read it carefully and follow the instructions, paying
particular attention to when the IRS expects a reply. Take the letter to meet
with the tax preparer, who can determine the type of audit the IRS is planning
- Gather paperwork. Typically, the letter will list specific items the IRS wants to
review. Gather the paperwork and organize it. Find any cancelled checks,
receipts and records that have been kept and have copies made to keep at home.
Note what paperwork is missing and contact the appropriate people or businesses
to get copies before the audit date. Also, don’t bring anything the auditors
did not ask for specifically. Just stay focused on what they have asked for during
- Practice the Golden Rule. First off, don’t ignore the letter altogether, that
may cause more problems. Secondly, IRS auditors are not well respected but
they’re simply doing their job. How refreshing would it be to work with someone
who didn’t hold it against them? Remember the Golden Rule: do unto others as
you wish them to do unto you.
- Make sure it is the IRS. One type of tax scam comes in the form
of phone scams where people posing as an
IRS agent, even using fake names and badge numbers to try to convince the
targeted taxpayers they owe taxes and need to send them money. The IRS
clarifies that they will contact an individual through the mail and will
not request personal information such as bank account numbers or social
If you received an IRS notification and need a tax preparer, use
our office locator or call 1-866-871-1040 to find the office nearest you.
Disclaimer: Tax Lounge is an informational source for industry news
and related topics. We take every effort to provide you with the most honest
and accurate tax information, but this information should not be a substitute
for professional tax advice. Use our office locator to find your local tax office or click here to
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